The world's top 10 polluters, ranked by their absolute and per-capita greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to the International Energy Agency: Absolute emissions (carbon dioxide equivalent -- million tonnes per year, 2007 data)
China - 6,027
Smoke rises from a chimney of a power plant in Taiyuan
Although, China officially overtook the US as the world's biggest CO2 emitter, research has shown that almost a third of Chinese carbon emissions are the result of producing goods for export.
In November 2009 China announced that it will reduce its carbon intensity -- the amount of carbon dioxide emitted for each unit of GDP -- 40 to 45 percent by 2020, compared with 2005 levels. However, given its high economic growth rate, China's emissions will continue to rise rapidly for at least a decade.
United States - 5,769
Carin Froehlich and her granddaughter hang laundry in their front yard in Pennsylvania. Froehlich is among the growing number of people across America fighting for the right to dry their laundry outside against a rising tide of housing associations who oppose the practice despite its energy-saving green appeal.
USA drew worldwide criticism for failing to adopt the greatest international agreement for the reduction of greenhouse gases, The Kyoto Protocol, accepted by nearly every other country. The US has 4% of the world's population but produces about 25% of all carbon dioxide emissions.
Recently the White House said that the United States was ready to pay a "fair share" of 10 billion dollars a year in climate aid to developing countries as part of a deal at the upcoming climate summit in Copenhagen.
Russia - 1,587
People watch fireworks explode above St Basil's Cathedral next to the Kremlin in Red Square, Moscow
Russia has increased its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an encouraging development before United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said his country would try to reduce greenhouse emissions by 25 percent by 2020, not by 15 percent as was planned before.
India - 1,324
People walk through haze at an industrial area in Mumbai
Four days prior to the Copenhagen climate summit, India announced that it will reduce its emission intensity by 20-25 percent by 2020 from the 2005 level. India's emissions intensity is already lower than other emerging economies and had decreased 17.6 percent between 1990 and 2005.
Japan - 1,236
Japan's national flag flutters near a gas flare from a factory in Kawasaki
Japan, the world's fifth-biggest greenhouse gas emitter, announced in June this year that it will target a cut in emissions by 15 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels. However the goal was criticized as inadequate by environmentalists and industry officials.
Japanese businesses argue that their factories are already among the world's most energy-efficient and that the country will struggle to cut greenhouse gas emissions further. Japan has one of the strictest environmental protection laws in place.
Germany – 798
Greenpeace activists unveil a banner showing a picture of German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the main central station in Berlin
Current issues: Emissions from coal-burning utilities and industries contribute to air pollution; acid rain, resulting from sulfur dioxide emissions, is damaging forests; pollution in the Baltic Sea from raw sewage and industrial effluents from rivers in eastern Germany; hazardous waste disposal; government established a mechanism for ending the use of nuclear power over the next 15 years; government working to meet EU commitment to identify nature preservation areas in line with the EU's Flora, Fauna, and Habitat directive
Canada – 572
The province of Alberta is Canada's top polluter as of May 2007. The province, with 10% of Canada's population, contributes 40% of climate-warming gases of the country. It is where seven of the top ten polluters of the country is located, including Syncrude and Suncor.
Because half of all emissions in Canada are from industries, environmentalists target them instead of consumers.
Britain - 523
Demonstrators protest during a climate change march in front of the Houses of Parliament in London
The nation has met Kyoto Protocol target of a 12.5% reduction from 1990 levels and intends to meet the legally binding target and move toward a domestic goal of a 20% cut in emissions by 2010.
By 2005 the government reduced the amount of industrial and commercial waste disposed of in landfill sites to 85% of 1998 levels and recycled or composted at least 25% of household waste, increasing to 33% by 2015.
South Korea – 488
A woman wearing a mask, for protection from yellow dust, walks in the central Seoul
South Korea announced its first greenhouse gas reduction target in November 2009, pledging to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases by 4% below 2005 levels by 2020.
South Korea is one of the world's largest greenhouse gas emitters. In 2005, the country released 590 million tons of the greenhouse gases blamed for dangerously warming the globe.
If no action is taken to cut emissions, South Korea is expected to produce 813 million tons of greenhouse gases in 2020.
Mexico – 437
A Mexican flag in the foreground of a view of the capital on a relatively smog free day. Mexico City is notorious for its eye stinging, throat burning and smog
The environmental issues that plague Mexico include scarcity of hazardous waste disposal facilities; rural to urban migration; natural fresh water resources scarce and polluted in north, inaccessible and poor quality in center and extreme southeast.
The nation also has raw sewage and industrial effluents polluting rivers in urban areas; deforestation; widespread erosion; desertification; deteriorating agricultural lands; serious air and water pollution in the national capital and urban centers along US-Mexico border.